Reverend William Frederick Gibbons (1949-Forever)
“I started playing guitar when I learnt that the noise that was coming out of the Radio was just that.”
To answer the question of who is Billy Gibbons, one will have to go back a bit (surely not that long…) to Texas, where a few young kids were growing up to change the sound we hear today.
Billy Gibbons got his first guitar at age of 13 and it was a Gibson Melody Maker. Now he owns a unique recreation of that guitar which is called the “Mojo Maker” and recalls his first guitar with warmth in his voice.
Coming out of Houston, Texas, Billy Gibbons was bound to become one of the greatest Texas Blues guitar players in the world, with his own unique style, sound and unforgettable charisma.
In his late teens, Billy had already formed his first band (Moving Sidewalks) and began playing in local joints and opening for Jimi Hendrix soon after. His smooth melodic style in combination with powerful crunchy sound caught Hendrix’s attention and he took Billy and the band with him on tours.
In 1969 a band of three was formed that was bound to be together and collect great memories over 40 years later.
Throughout the years, ZZ Top had released over a dozen albums and gave the world many songs that can be heard in all of the world’s corners even today. Billy Gibbons became a Reverend and got licensed to wed couples. I’d get married just to hear his voice say “Kiss her already”.
The list of songs that have been immortalized by ZZ Top is endless so I will point out just a few:
The main riff from La Grange is probably one of the most popular riffs among blues guitar beginners:
Current main guitar of Reverend Billy is John Bolin Telecaster with chambered body, chambered neck and headstock. Exclusive cream tea pickup prototype on an asphalt colored guitar with a longhorn on the body. A beautiful piece of work with unique rich sound.
Gibson Pearly Gates recreation seems to be in his favored topic of discussion when it comes to guitars. So many memories associated with it since 1959 when it first was created. Seymour Duncan humbucker in the front and Thomas Nilsen special humbucker in the back.
Famous “Furry” also known as “Billy Bow” recreation of Gretsch by John Bolin. Covered in snow white New Zealand sheep skin, it brags light weight and great playability. A long-standing friendship between Jim Dunlop and Billy Gibbons gave us opportunity to hear about them from the Blues Legend himself:
So who is Billy Gibbons? The man (the gentleman) plays what he wants to hear and what he plays, the entire world wants more off. He is a Texas Blues Legend, a real man, a nice guy and a brilliant musician. To me, Reverend Billy Gibbons is not only what a guitarist should be but also how one should act. Look him up and see how he flies coach on the planes and records phone videos with other passengers, see how he takes off his shades when he talks to a lady, see how he gives spotlight to other Blues musicians who perform with him on one stage and is so smooth about it. He is unforgettable and probably unmatched. Just as he was influenced by Albert Collins once, I am now tremendously influenced by him.
Many thanks to Rodney Bursiel for great photo-works.